Master Minds


“Master Minds” debuted on the Game Show Network in 2020, helmed by host Brooke Burns. In this thrilling quiz show, contestants face off against formidable “Master Minds,” experts in diverse subjects. The competition unfolds through several rounds, each featuring questions spanning various categories, offering participants the chance to snag cash rewards. Renowned for their expertise in specific domains like history, literature, pop culture, and science, the Master Minds present a formidable challenge, putting contestants’ intellect and trivia prowess to the test.

Gameplay

In every instance, the show presents three contenders matched against a trio of “knowledge virtuosos.” This esteemed group includes luminaries such as Ken Jennings, Muffy Marracco, Raj Dhuwalia, Arianna Haut, Ryan Chaffee, Susannah Brooks, David Schuchinski, Jonathan Corbblah, Lakedra Pam, Mark Labbett, and Monica Thieu. The victorious participant then engages in a face-off against the highest-scoring expert in the ultimate examination of intellect, aptly named the “Supreme Trivia Showdown.”

Best Ever Trivia Show

Round 1

In the opening stage, a contestant selects one of two categories and then chooses one expert to accompany them. Four questions from the chosen category are presented, each offering three multiple-choice options. All participants, including those not selected, covertly submit their answers simultaneously. If the chosen expert answers correctly, the contestant earns 50 points; otherwise, it’s 100 points. Generally, responses from the unselected experts are kept confidential.

Round 2

In the following phase, the structure echoes the initial round, albeit with a couple of tweaks:

  1. The category overlooked in the previous selection is reintroduced, alongside a new category for consideration.
  2. The leading contestant now takes charge of selecting both the category and the expert for this round.
  3. A new expert must be chosen for this phase, adding a fresh dynamic to the competition.
  4. In this round, participants face only three questions, intensifying the challenge.
  5. Furthermore, the scoring system undergoes a modification: each correct answer provided by the expert earns 100 points, while an incorrect answer earns 200 points.

Round 3

In the ultimate showdown, the remaining expert takes the spotlight as the leading contestant selects from a fresh set of categories. What sets this round apart is the expert’s confidential submission of an answer upfront. Following this, they reveal their confidence level in the response without disclosing it. Contestants face a critical decision: either trust the expert’s unseen answer for 200 points or take the riskier route of answering themselves for a chance to double their points to 400. This phase concludes after three questions, with the highest-scoring contestant claiming $1,000 and advancing to the “Ultimate Trivia Challenge.” If it becomes impossible for trailing contestants to catch up mathematically, the game ends abruptly.

In the event of a tie, the contestants facing off against each other tackle an extra question. The one who promptly provides the correct answer secures the win.

Ultimate Trivia Challenge

The daily champion steps forward to take on the Ultimate Trivia Challenge, confronting the highest-scoring expert based on accuracy and speed. Both the contender and the expert tackle five questions, each offering three potential answers. The ultimate victory depends on who can rack up more correct responses. If the contestant prevails, their winnings soar to $10,000. If one participant lags too far behind, the showdown wraps up swiftly.

If the scores are tied after the initial five questions, the contestant encounters the “Ultimate Trivia Question.” This puzzler is carefully selected by all three experts backstage before the show. Solving this mystery earns the contestant the $10,000 prize.

A contestant who secures the $10,000 prize, whether by outshining the expert or mastering the Ultimate Trivia Question, earns the opportunity to make a comeback in the next episode. Additionally, any contestant who triumphs in the Ultimate Trivia Challenge three times receives a coveted invitation to return to the show. This time, they assume the role of an expert, in addition to their total winnings of $30,000.

Master Minds

In this season, a new format unfolds as all six contenders engage in heated competition across three intense rounds. Points are meticulously recorded for both the contestants and the rebranded “Master Minds” (formerly known as experts). The climactic face-off emerges when the top performers from each group collide in the electrifying Ultimate Trivia Challenge.

Round 1

Each of the six contenders confronts seven questions encompassing a range of topics, each offering three multiple-choice options. Responses are submitted covertly and simultaneously, with each correct answer earning 100 points.

Round 2

In this segment, there are five unique open-ended questions, each exploring a different topic. The first four questions carry a value of 200 points, while the fifth question holds a higher value of 400 points. When the question is presented, contestants and Master Minds compete to answer by buzzing in. Only the first contestant and Master Mind to buzz in can respond. Correct answers bolster their scores, but incorrect responses in this round result in deductions. After the final 400-point question, the contestant and Master Mind with the lowest scores bid farewell to the competition. In the event of a tie for the lowest score, a buzzer-based tiebreaker question is posed to the tied participants, requiring verbal responses. A correct answer guarantees progression to the next round, albeit without any additional points awarded for winning the tiebreaker. Conversely, an incorrect or no response leads to elimination.

In the third season, a notable change was implemented in round 2: the buzzing-in component was removed. Instead, all contestants and Master Minds now submit written answers for all five questions. Furthermore, the practice of deducting points for incorrect responses has been eliminated.

Round 3

In this phase, contestants engage in rapid-fire verbal responses, buzzing in to answer questions within a tense 60-second showdown. In the first two seasons, the timer began with the first question, but starting from the third season, it initiates upon completion of the initial question. Each question carries varying point values, starting at 500 points for the first and increasing by 100 points for subsequent questions. Similar to Round 2, contestants must refrain from buzzing in until the question concludes. However, unlike Round 2, there are no penalties for incorrect answers; instead, the opponent can seize the points with a correct response. The contestant with the higher score earns $1,000. Meanwhile, the Master Minds undertake a parallel challenge with new questions, adhering to the same format, to determine which Master Mind will compete against the victorious contestant in the Ultimate Trivia Challenge. In the event of a tie, a tiebreaker similar to Round 2 occurs.

Ultimate Trivia Challenge/Showdown

During the first season, this phase consisted of five spontaneous inquiries. The contestant addressed these questions while the Master Mind remained secluded backstage. Following this, the Master Mind returned to the stage to confront the same set of queries. Only after both the contestant and Master Mind had their turn were the correct answers revealed.

In the second season, a change was implemented where both the contestant and the Master Mind occupy the stage together, jotting down their responses concurrently. The correct answers are revealed only after both participants have disclosed their answers. If it becomes apparent that the trailing player cannot catch up (for instance, with a score of 3–0), the round promptly comes to a close.

During the third season, the Ultimate Trivia Showdown was condensed to include only four questions.

Success in the round is determined either by surpassing the Master Mind’s score or by achieving a tie and then delivering the correct answer to the Ultimate Trivia Question. If the contestant emerges victorious, they receive a $10,000 prize and secure a spot on the next episode. As in previous seasons, winning the $10,000 three times (or twice in season 3) grants contestants an invitation to join the esteemed group of the Master Minds.

To date, seven contestants have accomplished this milestone: Kelly Gerhold, Lauren Cusitello, Cliff Galiher, Brendan Sargent, John Rhodes, Tim McCaigue, and Amanda Graver secured victories following the rule adjustment in February, April, August, September, October, and November 2023. This alteration lowered the winning requirement to two victories starting from season 3.

Production

The first episode of the Best Ever Trivia Show premiered on June 10, 2019, captivating viewers with its daily broadcasts that continued for 65 episodes until September 6, 2019.

By March 2020, the show underwent a significant transformation, rebranding itself as Master Minds, with Brooke Burns taking over as the host, succeeding Sherri Shepherd. Master Minds debuted with an updated format on April 6, 2020, captivating audiences with another thrilling run of 65 episodes until June 26, 2020.

The highly anticipated second season was unveiled to commence on December 7, 2020, as announced on November 18, 2020. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, safety measures were implemented, including spacing out contestants and Master Minds, each having individual podiums for the latter.

March 25, 2021, brought joy to fans as GSN confirmed the renewal of the show for a third season. This fresh installment graced screens on January 9, 2023, with Mark Labbett assuming the role of an expert, succeeding Ken Jennings.

Building on its track record of triumph, GSN announced the renewal of the show for a fourth season on March 28, 2023. Fans eagerly welcomed the premiere of this thrilling season on August 7, 2023, which introduced Monica Thieu as an expert.

Master Minds Talent


Master Minds
Brooke Burns, Host

Brooke Burns takes the helm as the host of Game Show Network’s acclaimed series, THE CHASE, which boasts an Emmy® nomination. Renowned for her iconic portrayal in the beloved TV series “Baywatch,” Burns has enjoyed a prolific career since her teenage years, marking her debut in the television landscape with a role in the acclaimed series “Ally McBeal.” Her repertoire includes lead roles in “North Shore” and “Pepper Dennis,” along with a recurring stint on the revitalized “Melrose Place.” Burns boasts an extensive television portfolio, with notable appearances on “Just Shoot Me,” “Drop Dead Diva,” and “CSI: Miami.” Her silver screen credits include a role in the film “Shallow Hal” and a heartwarming performance in the Hallmark Original Christmas movie “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Fans can anticipate seeing her in the Hallmark Movies and Mystery TV movie series, “Gourmet Detective,” adapted from Peter King’s book series. Additionally, Burns showcased her hosting prowess in TruTV’s “Motor City Masters,” a riveting competition spotlighting automotive designers.


Arianna Haut
Arianna Haut, Expert

Arianna Haut is a renowned trivia expert known for her impressive knowledge and quick wit. She has appeared as a contestant on various game shows, showcasing her expertise in a wide range of topics. Haut’s sharp intellect and engaging personality have earned her recognition among trivia enthusiasts and television audiences alike.


Jonathan Corbblah
Jonathan Corbblah, Expert

Jonathan Corbblah is a well-known trivia expert recognized for his extensive knowledge and strategic gameplay. With a knack for deciphering challenging questions, he has made a name for himself in the trivia community. Corbblah’s competitive spirit and passion for trivia have earned him admiration from both fellow contestants and fans alike.


Ken Jennings
Ken Jennings, Expert

Ken Jennings is a trivia legend celebrated for his unprecedented success on the game show “Jeopardy!”. Holding the record for the longest winning streak in the show’s history, Jennings captivated audiences with his remarkable breadth of knowledge and quick reflexes. Beyond “Jeopardy!”, he has remained active in the trivia community, authoring books and making guest appearances on various television programs. Jennings continues to be a beloved figure in the world of trivia and game shows.


LaKedra Pam
LaKedra Pam, Expert

LaKedra Pam is a rising star in the world of trivia, known for her impressive performances on various game shows. With her sharp intellect and quick thinking, Pam has captivated audiences and earned recognition for her strategic gameplay. Her passion for trivia and commitment to excellence continue to propel her to success in the competitive gaming arena.


Muffy Marracco, Expert

Muffy Marracco is a notable figure in the world of trivia, renowned for her depth of knowledge and astute gameplay. With a penchant for tackling challenging questions, Marracco has made a lasting impression on various game shows. Her strategic prowess and quick reflexes have earned her admiration from both contestants and viewers alike. Marracco remains a formidable force in the realm of trivia competitions.


Ryan Chaffee, Expert

Ryan Chaffee is a respected name in the realm of trivia, known for his keen intellect and strategic acumen. With a knack for navigating challenging questions, Chaffee has left a mark on various game shows. His impressive performances and quick thinking have garnered him admiration from both fellow contestants and audiences. Chaffee continues to be a prominent figure in the world of trivia competitions.


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